AgrAbility eNote banner
March 2011


Russell Ramsey, volunteer farmer, continues to lead Missouri’s effort to formalize a statewide AgrAbility volunteer peer support and caregiver network. The AgrAbility peer support and caregiver network will help Missouri consumers cultivate independence by sharing how they cope with the “ups and downs” of their disabilities while caregivers explain how they have learned to better navigate the managed care system.

AgrAbility participated in the Women as Landowners Conference sponsored by the local USDA FSA, SWCD, NRCS, and University of Missouri Extension. This one-day conference targeted women landowners (as well as their partners) in a 5-county region. The conference offered attendee’s seven concurrent breakout sessions with each one lasting an hour. AgrAbility staff collaborated with the Moniteau Department of Health to present two one hour AgrAbility and Arthritis breakout sessions. Over one hundred and twenty five women and their partners attended this engaging AgrAbility and Arthritis hands-on session. Exhibits from USDA FSA, Moniteau Department Health and Senior Services, SWCD, NRCS, and University of Missouri Extension, just to mention a few, were on display.

AgrAbility staff members exhibited agricultural disability, fitness, ergonomic, and health displays at the 2011 Western Farm Show. The Health and Safety Round Up sponsored by the Missouri Farm Bureau provides an excellent opportunity for the AgrAbility Program to increase visibility and disseminate programmatic information and resource materials to farmers and ranchers from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Diane Olson, Director of Promotion and Education Programs with the Missouri Farm Bureau, stated that the “new” AgrAbility Fitness For Farmers display was a nice compliment to the “Gardens For Every Body,” “Arthritis,” and “Simple Solutions – Tractor” exhibits. Besides visiting with exhibitors and viewing thousands of products on display, attendees were also invited to attend free educational seminars. Two of the best seminars presented this year were the "Become An Agricultural Advocate through Social Media" and "Using Social Media in Agriculture -- Tools & Tips.” There was a lot to see for full-time, traditional farmers or ranchers as well as compact tractors and equipment for part-time, “lifestyle” farmers. In addition, the Family Living Center featured a wide assortment of items including assistive technology, gadgets, and adapted devices for use in and around the farm/ranch home.

AgrAbility also participated in an Arthritis Awareness: Overviews, Breakthroughs, and Answers workshop. This free program for consumers and families was sponsored by CDC Regional Arthritis Center (RAC). During this one day informative arthritis event, consumers and their families learned how to better manage the emotional issues that can accompany a chronic condition like arthritis. Plus, attendees were able to discover the newest treatments for relieving osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A question and answer time followed each presentation. In addition to speakers, there were information booths where consumers and family members could learn more about coping with the following rheumatic diseases: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia.

AgrAbility staff members continued to work on the Consumers and Caregivers Barn Builders publication. This publication will include past and present consumers with disabilities who have received AgrAbility services and caregivers who are available to assist others with similar disabilities reap the benefits of AgrAbility through networking opportunities.

Gardens for Every Body bannerVolunteer master gardeners continue their efforts of presenting the AgrAbility Gardens for Every Body program to the public with small acres throughout rural Missouri. Participants learned how to appropriately select ergonomic and enabling garden tools, techniques to modify tools, efficient and effective methods to gardening on small acreages, and how the AgrAbility program assists operators with disabilities including those living and working on small acres.

Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch